After Being Beaten to Death by Fullerton Police, Homeless Man Is Cleared of Any Wrongdoing

The police repeatedly shocked Kelly Thomas with tasers and smashed his face with the butts of their flashlights, causing brain injuries, severe injuries to his face and neck, and fractured ribs, resulting in the homeless man’s wrongful death. Now the police have admitted that Thomas was innocent of any wrongdoing.

by Lynda Carson


On September 18, 2012, Dan Hughes, the acting chief of police in Fullerton, California, offered a brief statement to the Fullerton City Council that cleared a homeless man, Kelly Thomas, of any wrongdoing before he was beaten to brain death by Fullerton police on July 5, 2011.

Kelly Thomas died five days later on July 10, 2011, when he never recovered from the brutal beating by cops in Fullerton. Yet it took more than a year for the Fullerton Police Department to finally declare his innocence by stating that there is no evidence that Thomas was involved in stealing anything from cars.

Police spokesman Sgt. Andrew Goodrich originally had told the press that Thomas was suspected of trying to burglarize some cars. That may have been an effort to cover up the wrongful actions of his fellow officers one day after the cops brutally beat Thomas to a bloody pulp.

Thomas was under 40 years old and innocent of any wrongdoing. Now he will never again see the light of day, hear the laughter of children, or smell a fresh ocean breeze. The cops repeatedly shocked him with tasers and smashed his face in with the butts of their tasers and flashlights, causing brain injuries, severe injuries to his face and neck, and fractures in the bones of his face and ribs, resulting in his wrongful death.

If Thomas was guilty of anything, he was guilty of being homeless in a world of brutality, poverty, high rents, greedy landlords, and a lack of shelter beds for the homeless community.

Kelly Thomas was unarmed and innocent of any wrongdoing at the time he was beaten to death. Of the six cops involved in the incident, former police officer Manuel Ramos is scheduled to go on trial for second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, and Jay Cicinelli faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and excessive use of force.

Currently, a grand jury is also deciding if former officer Joe Wolfe will be indicted for the wrongful death of Thomas.

This shocking case of police brutality has garnered international attention. Following the brutal death of Thomas, ex-Police Chief Patrick McKinley was replaced by acting Police Chief Dan Hughes. On June 5, 2012, a recall of three Fullerton City Council members with close ties to police unions took place as a direct result of community outrage and protests over the brutal incident.

The violent assault was recorded by video and audio recording devices that revealed that Thomas did comply with police orders before he was brutally beaten to death.

As Thomas begged for his life, former police officer Manuel Ramos put on latex gloves and told the homeless man, “Now see my fists? They are getting ready to fuck you up!”

“Report Police Crimes.” Art by Doug Minkler


Thomas can be heard screaming for his dad in the recordings as he was being beaten to death by the cops.

Meanwhile, the homeless community awaits the decision of the grand jury that is deciding if former officer Joe Wolfe also will be indicted for the wrongful death of Kelly Thomas, along with two other former cops.

The father of the homeless man has brought a lawsuit against the City of Fullerton charging officials with the wrongful death of Kelly Thomas. The case is known as Frederick Ron Thomas v. City of Fullerton (case number 30-2012-00581299-CU-PO-CJC).

Lynda Carson may be reached at

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